Russia 1855-1964 Famine

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  • Famines
    • Major Famines
      • 1891- adverse weather coupled with panic selling of grain to counter the impact of a new consumer goods tax, peasants sold surpluses to pay for the tax. 350,000+ died
      • 1914-1918- disruption to trade and transport during WWI led to shortages, Treaty of Brest-Litovsk made it worse as Ukraine was lost
      • 1921- terrible winter, severe droughts, destruction of infrastructure, 5 million+ died, made worse by Lenin's slow response and relutance to accept aid from American Relief Agency
      • 1932-34- similar mortality rate to 1921, but suffering made worse by the repression from Stalin, death penalty for stealing grain/ hoarding
      • The policy of exporting grain, used by Stalin and Witte, exacerbated food issues and contributed to the cause of famine
    • An improvement in the 1930s?
      • By 1935 matter seemed to improve and food production increased slowly
      • On the eve of WWII food production not at pre-WWI levels
      • General diet worsened under communists,  by late 1930s fish and meat consumption down by 80%
    • WWII and food supplies
      • Collectivisation relaxed
      • Removal of restrictions on the size of private plots of land removed, food production increased
      • Another famine in 1947
      • Poor harvests and associated food shortages continued under Khrushchev
      • Despite VLS and improvements to the state pricing mechanism food still had to be imported
      • Critics believe that adherence to a policy of subsidised 'socialised agriculture' led to inefficiency and higher demand than supply


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